Beef Brisket vs. Roasted Chicken
When planning your Hanukkah menu, should you roast a brisket or chicken? Which is worse?
Worse: Beef Brisket
“I’d always go chicken over beef,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., Wellness Manager for the Cleveland Clinic Lifestyle 180 Program. Chicken is lower in calories and fat and an equally good source of protein as the brisket.
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Butternut Squash Soup vs. Stuffed Mushrooms
Will a cup of hearty soup or a couple of stuffed mushrooms add more calories to your holiday meal? Which is worse?
Worse: Stuffed Mushrooms
If you see butternut squash soup at the buffet, make a beeline for it, says Kirkpatrick. The soup is mostly vegetables, and if you make it yourself you can limit the butter and cream. Stuffed mushrooms are often cooked in butter and are high in saturated fat. “Plus they won’t fill you up as much,” says Kirkpatrick. “You can have a cup of soup and be satisfied.”
Turkey Breast vs. Turkey Thigh
After the bird is carved, should you opt for the white meat or the dark meat? Which is worse?
Worse: Turkey Thigh
“Anytime you have turkey breast, that’s a better option,” says Kirkpatrick. “Dark meat has more saturated fat, and the thigh is particularly high in saturated fat.”
Macaroni and Cheese vs. Lasagna
Pasta baked with cheese, or pasta with cheese and meat. Which is worse?
Worse: Macaroni and Cheese
Because lasagna has protein, you’ll eat less of it and it will keep you feeling fuller longer. “The protein and carbohydrates together in the lasagna will keep your motor running.” says Brooke Schantz, R.D., outpatient dietitian at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. Just keep the serving to about the size of your fist. As for the macaroni and cheese, it will likely leave you wanting more -- and reaching for a second serving.
Calamari Salad vs. Shrimp Cocktail
Here, the calamari is topped with a vinaigrette dressing and the shrimp comes with tangy cocktail sauce on the side. But which is worse?
Worse: Shrimp Cocktail
Both dishes use boiled, not fried, seafood, which is a plus. But calamari salad often is served on a bed of greens, which means that a salad with three or four calamari will fill you up more than a single serving of shrimp. "It's hard to stop at three shrimp for your appetizer," says Schantz.
Pumpkin Pie vs. Apple Pie
Both pies are filled with good stuff: cancer-fighting beta-carotene in the pumpkin, cholesterol-lowering fiber in the apple. But which is worse?
Worse: Apple Pie
Apple pie crust is usually thicker and flakier than pumpkin pie crust, which means more calories, partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats, says Kirkpatrick. And then there’s the fact that apple pie is rarely alone on the plate. “Apple pie is something we love to have a la mode,” Kirkpatrick says.
Baccala (Fried Salt Cod) vs. Linguini with White Clam Sauce
The fish is fried. But a single serving of pasta might not fill you up, increasing the odds you’ll go for seconds. So which is worse?
Fried foods bring with them trans fats, which are among the worst things you can eat, says Schantz. So instead opt for the linguini, but keep the serving to the size of your fist. If you want to stay away from pasta this holiday season, Schantz recommends baking the baccala instead of frying it.
Deep Fried Turkey vs. Roasted Ham
A deep fried turkey that cooks in about an hour can be quite an enticing proposition -- but can it compete with ham? Which is worse?
Worse: Deep Fried Turkey
The ham is high in sodium, but deep frying will turn a once-lean turkey into a high-fat diet disaster. “Why would you take a good protein and make it unhealthy for the arteries?” says Schantz. If she were at this Thanksgiving feast, Schantz would opt for 3 ounces of ham and fill the rest of her plate with vegetables.
Candied Yams vs. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Are yams topped with marshmallows better or worse for you than buttery potatoes?
Worse: Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Yams are the healthier option here because you can use a little less brown sugar and still have a great-tasting, fiber-rich side dish, says Kirkpatrick. Mashed potatoes without butter and gravy would be too bland. So go for the yams --just scrape off the marshmallows.
Pumpkin Pie vs. Pecan Pie
Nuts are heart-healthy and pumpkin is full of fiber. Which is worse?
Worse: Pecan Pie
“Pecan pie is really one of worst pies you can choose,” Kirkpatrick says. “Pecans are great. They’re a nice source of vitamin E. But putting them in pie -- that's like putting an apple in a pig's mouth and saying the apple’s good now.” The pecan pie delivers 22 grams of fat per slice, compared with 13 grams in the pumpkin pie.
Crescent rolls or buttermilk biscuits? Baked ham or roasted duck? Find out more healthier holiday food choices here!
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